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Sexual relationship with client draws discipline

By: Laura Brown//February 9, 2024//

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Sexual relationship with client draws discipline

By: Laura Brown//February 9, 2024//

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An Iowa attorney who moved to Minnesota with the intention to practice law has been suspended from the practice of law. Kylie Liu, who was suspended in Iowa for having sex with a client she represented in a family law matter, will also be prohibited from practice in Minnesota.

Liu was first licensed to practice law in Iowa in September 2019.  She is a former state public defender in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

In the summer of 2022, Liu was representing a client who was a mother facing the removal of her child from her care. At the time of representation, the client was alleged to be using methamphetamine, was diagnosed with a personality disorder, and had unstable housing.

Liu’s family and co-workers requested police do a welfare check on Liu in August 2022. They found Liu asleep at the apartment of Liu’s former client. Liu then admitted that she and the client were having a sexual relationship. As of November 2022, Liu was still having a romantic relationship with her former client.

In September 2022, Liu self-reported her conduct. Consequently, Liu lost her job with the State Public Defender’s Office. On Dec. 9, 2022, Liu was publicly disciplined by the Iowa Supreme Court for her prohibited sexual relationship with a client. Liu agreed to the suspension of her Iowa law license in late 2022.

Liu applied for reinstatement of her law license in Iowa in 2023. Four Iowa judges wrote a joint letter that opposed her reinstatement. “Her obvious inability to comprehend the requirement of zealous legal representation has regularly placed her clients at risk of detrimental outcomes. We have not witnessed any level of progress that gives us confidence that she has or can improve,” the judges wrote. Assistant County Attorney Matt Kishinami also wrote a letter alleging that he felt that Liu “would do a tremendous amount of harm to any future clients” if Liu’s law license was reinstated. Subsequently, Liu withdrew her reinstatement application.

This caused the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility to file a petition seeking reciprocal discipline against Liu. Liu is suspended from the practice of law in Minnesota for 90 days. After she is reinstated, she will be placed on probation for two years. She is ordered to comply with the recommendations of the mental health assessment she received in Iowa, including continuing her medication management regimen and individual counseling.

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